Password manager apps are no longer a dime a dozen. Some of the most popular password managers for Mac, iPhone, and iPad have healthy price tags or worse– monthly and annual subscriptions.
Here’s another one I tried this weekend that has a free component which could be all you need. It’s called Bitwarden and it works just about everywhere– Mac, iPhone, iPad, plus Windows and Linux, and Android.
No. Feature. Creep.
The reason I’ve been looking around at other password managers is because of the handwriting I see on the wall. I use 1Password. Nothing is better and few are as feature laden. Or expensive. The next version is in beta already and that means an upgrade fee and possibly a monthly-annual subscription rate.
Alternatives abound. Bitwarden is free and not one of those fake free trial applications. Right up front let me state that the free version works well and may be all you need. The subscription model is aimed at families which share logins and passwords, but more especially for business and enterprise (so there’s a business model in there to help pay the freight).
Bitwarden is open source and that keeps it free. What you get for free is an app that runs almost everywhere, can be shared by two users, limits to two collections of passwords, but has unlimited shared items. In other words, Bitwarden can do the basics most of us need. For free.
The app syncs via the Bitwarden servers online and across all devices. For that you’ll need an account. Your logins and passwords are encrypted end-to-end from your device to the server using end-to-end AES-256 bit encryption, salted hashing, and PBKDF2 SHA-256. Think plenty of security and more than most of us need.
Because Bitwarden is online you can also log into your passwords from any web browser. And, speaking of browsers, Bitwarden has the browser extensions to use on Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Brave (which for some reason only allows one password manager at a time), Vivaldi, and Microsoft Edge. Even 1Password can’t do all that.
So far, I like what I see. Bitwarden is priced right, imports logins and passwords from other password managers (1Password without a hitch), and easily installed on all my Apple devices. The only caveat I have is the actual password files, which, unlike 1Password and others, are not stored on iCloud or Dropbox or wherever, but online. All that end-to-end encryption makes it worthy enough to try.
You won’t have all the same bells and whistles as the more expensive password managers, but the basics are there– security, online access, browser extensions.
Not bad for free.
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